I am a collector of many things, but one of my favorites is my quote collection. I like to illustrate the quotes with stickers, drawings, etc and I use small journals and notebooks to record them in. Often, when I need a lift, I’ll sit down and page through them. Ultimately I come away feeling uplifted and back on course.
The other day, while searching for some quotes to put on a board in Pinterest, I came across one I really liked:
“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ve never been hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.
–William W. Purkey.
Let’s examine this quote line by line because there is a lot of information here on how we see ourselves, who were are as a people and how we ultimately want to live our lives.
“You gotta dance like there’s nobody looking”. Okay, I get this one. It’s pretty simple. If I dance like nobody’s watching, I can let go and really dance how I feel, expressing joy or pent-up emotions – anger, grief, happiness, ecstasy. We’ll get to me in a moment, but what immediately came to mind as I read this line was Tom Cruise in Risky Business and Hugh Grant in Love Actually. These two danced as if nobody was watching in front of countless movie audiences, but they gave it their all. Hugh at least had the good sense to keep his pants on. After all, he was the Prime Minister of Great Britain at the time.! But they embody the spirit of this quote. Don’t censure yourself. If you feel like dancing your shoes off go for it, audience or not. I’ll have to try this sometime. Never very coordinated in the dancing milieu to start with, now with Parkinson’s, it’s even more of a challenge. But, if they bring back some of the dances from the 1960s like the “Hippy, Hippy Shake”, I may fit right in! All kidding aside, I do dance with the grandkids. They’re still at an age where we are about equally coordinated, although my granddaughter is moving to the music quite well lately, not surprising as her parents are both musically inclined. The bottom line on this one: Do not be afraid to express yourself, or deny yourself some fun, but unless you are at home with the drapes drawn, keep your pants on!
“Love like you’ve never been hurt.” Ah, tough one here. Who among us has reached adulthood without suffering the angst of unrequited love, a broken or failed relationship, or even the loss of a beloved partner to death? So for most of us, this one is a given, and what is required is a leap of faith – in love, in the inherent goodness in most people, in the belief that one bad experience should not mark us for life, and relegate us to living a lonely life. It takes a lot of plain old guts to try again, to put ourselves out there where disappointment, heartache and failure lurk in the shadows. Our work on this one is to dispel those shadows by embracing the light, enhancing the positive and moving forward with a joyful song in our hearts. If we project these attributes, we’ll be more likely to draw around us people of a similar mind, thereby increasing our chances of success in our next relationship. As I recently watched a brilliant sunrise take place, the slowly rising sun pushed back the shadows of night, replacing blues and purples with bright pinks and orange, pushing back the shadows and spreading the light. So that’s the ticket. Be the sunrise, carry the light and “love like you’ve never been hurt.”
“Sing like there’s nobody listening.” Easy one here. Start with singing in the two places we feel safest, the car and the shower. Then move on to karaoke. There is one of these insidious machines in every club, bar and cruise ship on the planet. And from what I hear, we do not seem to have a problem with singing like no one is listening. Singing skills rank about equal to dancing skills in my repertoire, and as I no longer drive a car, I think I have to take many more frequent showers before I reach the karaoke stage. If you ever see a very shriveled, but exceptionally clean karaoke performer someday, it might be me. But not likely.
And live like it’s heaven on earth. This one is my favorite. It tells me to celebrate each day of my life and carry the feelings of peace and joy in my heart everywhere I go. To hold sacred the moment, the here and now, and not to let worry and fear cloud the beauty I see all around me in this beautiful world. My recent trip to Alaska had a profound effect on me as we approached those majestic mountains and viewed the glaciers, the unbelievable color of the water, the blue icebergs, the waterfalls, the humpback whales, , the bald eagles and the sun rising over the sea, painting that path of gold from it to me. What wonders we have here on Earth. I’m ready to pack my bags and go out and discover some more.
Heaven is usually envisioned as a place of beauty and peace, a place where love rules above all. Well, here on earth we have the beauty, but our challenge in living like it is heaven on earth requires that we work on the peace and love aspects between peoples.. I recently read an article by Sakyong Mipham in a Buddhist magazine, and he explained that an enlightened society is an awake society – awake to the basic goodness inherent in people. We are basically good, but many have allowed feelings of fear and selfishness to drive our world. As people accept their basic goodness, kindness wisdom and strength reverberate and society enters the enlightened state Meditation can be the vehicle that drives us from being “asleep” to being “awake. I’ll talk about this more in my next post. In the meantime, the more we focus on our basic goodness, the more we fill our hearts with positive emotions, the easier it will be to achieve an enlightened society ..A beautiful world filled with peace and love and basic goodness. Sounds like heaven on earth to me.